When I moved to our hometown it was mostly in haste and my mom’s comment that “we have a university here.”  She had just relocated after my high school graduation to get re-married and I had yet to visit the area. My college career sent me to lower Michigan (Michigan State) but when life stepped in I needed to be closer to family. My plan was to transfer for a single semester and then head back to East Lansing. I ended up staying the next two and a half years and walking away with my undergraduate degree. We’ve since lived in Washington DC but found our way back here because both MarocBaba and I knew what a nice community it was to raise our children. One of the comforts is that our university takes international experiences very seriously.  It helps that the community is largely supportive as well. Every fall they host an International Folk Festival where students and community members from around the world have tables showcasing their food, culture and traditions.  There are live dancing and musical presentations and much much more.  I was really looking forward to bring the kids this year because of our new friends who are students from Tunisia and Morocco.

There were more than forty countries represented but of course this was our favorite booth. It was even more exciting for me to see a roomful of people learning about Muslim countries (Pakistan was also in the room). They were eating food, asking questions and learning. What more can you really ask for? As a part of the Midwest Savvy Gourmet program I have been working on with Verizon I recently received an LG Intuition phone and this was a great opportunity to test it out.  The picture quality of the camera is awesome!  I’ve been using an iPhone for awhile now but I really love some of the apps for photo editing like Muzy and Pixlr-o-matic. I filtered the two images above with Muzy.

K wanted to see the China display and was sad that they didn’t have a panda on display. He was confused how they could possibly be from China and not have pandas somewhere – we convinced him the school wouldn’t allow pandas and that seemed to do the trick.  The boys also visited the Serbia booth and walked away with their names written in Serbian.  Our last stop was the Israel table.  We talked about how Hebrew is written in the same direction as Arabic and when they went to get their names written in Hebrew they were surprised when the young man wrote their names in both Arabic and Hebrew.  This led to a good conversation about Israel and Palestine and the people that make up this region of the world. My kids are very aware of the world, the people in it and their difference so this was  a very fun but educational experience for them.

  I couldn’t help but feel happiness when I saw small kids visiting the booths and trying new foods. It gave me so much hope that my children’s generation will grow up more tolerant, understanding and interested in the world.  One bite at a time.

Special thanks to my friend and fabulous photographer Fatima al -Qubaity for allowing me to use the first and last image.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post however I am a part of Verizon’s Midwest Savvy Gourmet program and am receiving complimentary product and services.